Central Otago Pinot Celebration raises $15,000 for local trust

Central Otago Pinot Celebration raises $15,000 for local trust

The legendary Central Otago Pinot Celebration, which attracts wine lovers from across the globe, has given back to its local community.

The three-day 2020 celebration raised $15,000 for the Mokihi Restoration Trust.

A sensational line up of Central Otago wines immersed 150 ethusiasts in wine tastings, panel discussions, lunches and dinners. 

They were hosted in breathtaking winery and vineyard settings around the region including Wanaka, Cardrona, Bannockburn and Gibbston Valley.

Pinot Celebration Chairman Chris Keys was rapt with how the event went.

“It was insanely cool. Visitors were shown the special side of this area. Central Otago is stunning, visually, but for me the event was made by the spirit of the people I’m proud to call colleagues,” he says.

“We showed our region with honesty, revealed ourselves without artifice. That made for deep, funny, cool times, and meaningful connections all over the place.

“Wine is a crucial part of this – but it’s all part of a bigger story. The celebration helps develop our cultural and ecological heritage.”

The auction was a key part of the celebration with wine and wine experiences in hot demand, kindly donated by local wineries.

Central Otago Pinot Noir Charitable Trust chairman, Alistair King says he is thrilled the money will go to such a good cause.

“The Trust’s goals of promoting hands-on community land care and native habitat restoration are a good fit with Central Otago Winegrowers’ values of being responsible custodians of their land,” he says.

“We’re pleased to be able to support the trust and enable them to continue their valuable work.”

The Mokihi Trust was established in 2016 and to date has planted 4000 native plants of local origin at three sites around Cromwell and adjacent to Lake Dunstan.

After a spectacular opening event at Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka, other highlights of the Central Otago PinotCelebration included lunch at Peregrine Winery with guest chef Monique Fiso, renowned for her NZ-Maori cuisine. 

An evening cruise to Walter Peak Station with a ‘big bottle’ tasting of Central Otago Pinot Noir Magnums and Jeroboams was another hit.

Finally, hosted by wineries in Bannockburn, guests toured through wineries on e-bikes, trailers, tractors and an electric bus, before the final long lunch.

Attendees included wine-loving consumers, trade, sommeliers, wine and leisure media, and Central Otagowineries.

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Canyon Brewing buzzing over bee initiative

In a corporate social responsibility initiative, Canyon Brewing is sponsoring three thriving beehives in Arthur’s Point, near Queenstown.

Bee the Change founder, Neal McAloon, has placed five apiaries (hive locations) across the district in a bid to help save the bees and grow educational awareness.

Go Orange Marketing Manager Emma Hansen says she’s thrilled Canyon Brewing is part of the initiative.

“Here at Canyon Brewing we want to give back to our Arthur’s Point community as much as possible and Bee the Change seemed a perfect fit.

“On top of helping make a difference in this fight to save the bees, the bees also pollinate nearby fruit trees, providing free fruit for the community in years to come.”

The Arthur’s Point apiary is on the School House Reserve.

Neal says the bees are strategically placed to get the best pollination.

“They’re located in public spaces accompanied by educational signage which will be installed shortly.

“Our future and their future is intertwined. There are many, many diseases increasing around the world so by supporting Bee the Change companies are growing awareness about the importance of bees and what people can do in their own environment to help improve the bees environment.

“The Apiculture industry and bees are under a lot of pressure globally. Our long term mission is to build up strong colonies in the district so when crises strikes around the world we could be in a position to help send apiaries elsewhere.”

Once ready, the honey will be harvested and sold, at a highly discounted rate, back to Canyon and other companies which are part of the initiative.

Without bees other consequences to our food chain would come knocking, which would be dire to food sources around the world

“The global decline of bees is a problem we all face. Without bees we won’t have food so Canyon is doing what we can to help in this fight,” Emma says.

Neal says he is grateful for their support.

“Hospitability businesses take from the food supply which bees are an intrinsic part of. By getting involved with Bee the Change, Canyon is helping with bee resilience.

“It goes in a cycle: Canyon Brewing takes from the environment, bees help create the food they take and now they’re giving back to the honeybee species.”

All businesses and individuals involved with Bee the Change pay an initial start-up fee and then a continuous yearly fee to help with the upkeep of hives.

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Outstanding Wine Experience On Offer At Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa

A stay at Central Otago’s newest luxury lodge would not be complete without an outstanding wine experience.

And that’s exactly what’s on offer at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, nestled among the vines in the region’s founding winery.

As Central Otago’s pioneering winery, Gibbston Valley has a deep history of winery excellence and land guardianship, reinforced in recent years with its standing as a BioGro certified organic vineyard, and BioGro certified organic winery.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, featuring 24 villas, a striking central lodge building and separate spa, opens later this month and offers the ultimate in relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence and 5-star personal service.

Winemaker Christopher Keys says the Lodge & Spa’s Essential Wine Experience is the perfect opportunity for guests to get up close to what the winery team does.

“At the Winery everything is hand-tendered and made, from vine to fruit to wine,” he says.

“By the time each bottle makes it to the table, there are endless stories encapsulated in every glass.  People, place and seasons are captured in our wines, so the Essential Wine Experience is a fantastic way to unravel this, bringing our wines, our people, land and story to life.”

The half-day educational experience, exclusive to Lodge guests, winds through the working core of Gibbston Valley for a behind-the-scenes view of its operation. Sights and smells turn into tastes and chats with winemakers and chefs.

Leaving the sunlight behind to enter New Zealand’s largest wine cave, Christopher says there’s a “sensory change” as guests pass into its depths.

“There’s nothing else like it,” he says. “The atmosphere is peaceful and contemplative – just you and hundreds of barrels of Pinot Noir lining the walls.”

Guests then enjoy an entertaining cinema experience with the showing of Bud to Bottle – a short film of the winegrowing process – in the Lodge’s private wine education theatre.

“It’s a visually spectacular piece that perfectly captures the annual cycle of winemaking,” says Christopher. “Our idea is to satisfy those who are curious about the essence of winemaking.”

The film is followed by a tasting session of Gibbston Valley’s premium and Single Vineyard releases, led by an experienced winemaker.

The experience ends as it should, with food, wine and conversation at the at the Lodge Restaurant. Executive Chef Anthony Gradiska and his team will delight in preparing a convivial lunch featuring seasonal produce from the winery’s organic gardens, expertly paired with wines.

The Lodge Concierge will be available to advise guests on additional customised experiences, such as a guided helicopter trip to understand the ‘ins and outs’ of making Gibbston Valley wines from above. The helicopter experience will stop at all the Winery’s major vineyards, as well as additional spots to catch some spectacular views.

For further information and bookings go to gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com

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Canyon Brewing makes its mark in beer awards

New Zealand’s most scenic brewery made its mark on the beer scene with a haul of medals in the country’s most prestigious awards, less than 18 months after opening.

Canyon Brewing, which crafts its award-winning beer alongside the iconic Shotover River, was up against stiff competition in the Brewers Guild of New Zealand annual awards.

There were a record number of 955 entries across beer and cider categories for this year’s competition, just over half of them from small breweries like Canyon.

That didn’t stop the brewery from bringing home a silver medal for its Red IPA, and bronze accolades for its NZ Ale, Pale Ale, Haven XPA, and its Sour Cherry Ale in the fruit and flavoured category.

The awards, in their 13th year, have a huge reputation across the globe as one of the most prestigious accolades a brewer can win.

All Canyon’s beer is handcrafted on site in the ‘on-display’ microbrewery, which also serves up fresh, flavoursome food in its restaurant, open seven days a week.

Head brewer Jono Kauri and his team are delighted with the awards wins, which reflect the brewery’s mantra to deliver well-constructed, balanced and clean beers that while approachable, are also memorable.

“It’s about letting the raw materials and ingredients shine through into the finished beer,” says Product Development Manager Justin Koen.

“We pay close attention to detail throughout the brewing process, from paddock to pint, to ensure our brews are of outstanding quality, and the awards are testament to that.

“We’re thrilled to have shown that the beer we produce down here in Queenstown more than stacks up against many larger and more established breweries. It shows it shows the standard of success a small dedicated team can have.”

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